Iowa GOP Senator Chuck Grassley notes the U.S. Senate attempted last week to respond to the EPA’s efforts to circumvent Congress with new federal regulations related to greenhouse gases. He says the EPA regulations would drive up the cost of gasoline and electricity for all Americans:
“As the cost of producing and transporting products in the United States goes up every one of the Americans pay more for everything they buy. Farmers are going to be especially hard hit with the cost of diesel fuel and fertilizer increasing so much as they have this year.”
Four amendments to the small business bill were designed to postpone or limit EPA’s greenhouse gas rules. One amendment was defeated 50 to 50. But despite the defeat of each amendment Grassley says:
“The votes clearly show that a majority of senators support doing something to reign in the Environmental Protection Agency. Which, you’ve probably heard me say really stands for End Production Agriculture.”
According to Grassley, nowhere is EPA’s overreach seen more clearly than in the area of agriculture:
“The Agency has taken it upon itself to regulate dust and spilled milk, and has tried like all get-out to penalize US biofuel producers for greenhouse gas emissions that the EPA claims result from changes in land use in other countries. Over the last several years it’s been one thing after another. I look forward to when we can end this power grab by unelected baurocrats and congress can make the policy that so much impacts the American people.”
Grassley says that’s where the policies should be made -- in Congress.
With the cuts proposed to agriculture in the fiscal year 2012 budget resolution, questions about the impact on the 2012 Farm Bill are starting to surface. Grassley has an idea:
“I think direct payments are going to be done away with. The question is: Will the $5 billion every year be saved or will it go to other programs? And I think some of it is going to be used to strengthen crop insurance and maybe even other programs like the target, the loan rate and the counter-cyclical. When money’s paid out under counter-cyclicals, it’s based on ‘what’s the price?’, and if the price is below the cost of production, then there’s a legitimacy for it, if you want to maintain certainty of food production and you want to do it from the family farm.”
Grassley also expects more emphasis on crop insurance:
“I think people are seeing crop insurance as a better safety net than anything we have in the farm program.”
But Grassley says none of that will likely be decided this year.